What is XML invoicing? (Everything you should know)

XML invoicing is a format for sharing structured invoicing data electronically. Traditionally, invoices are sent and received through the mail, but many businesses have turned to XML invoicing with the advent of electronic communication.

Invoicing is an essential process for any business. It helps keep track of money owed and paid and records the transactions for future reference.

But what is XML invoicing? And how does it differ from other e-invoicing formats?

If you work in accounting or invoicing, chances are you've come across the term "XML invoicing."

In this blog post, we'll break down everything you need to know about XML invoicing - from what it is, to how it works, to its benefits.

So if you're looking for a crash course on XML invoicing, read on!

Need a solution for cross-border XML invoicing? Schedule a demo with one of our e-invoicing experts.



What is XML invoicing?

XML invoicing is a type of e-invoicing that uses Extensible Markup Language (XML) to send and receive invoices. It’s a standard format that allows you to easily share information between different applications and systems.

So by using XML invoicing, businesses can easily send and receive invoices electronically without worrying about compatibility issues.


What is e-invoicing?

E-invoicing (or electronic invoicing) is the process of sending and receiving invoices electronically rather than through the mail. There are several different methods of e-invoicing, including:

Structured Data Transmission (SDT)

SDT is a method of e-invoicing that uses a standardized format to send invoices between businesses. Examples include:

  • XML invoicing
  • EDI invoicing: EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) is a technology for exchanging business documents electronically. It is often used in supply chain management and is considered the most reliable and secure way to exchange invoice data. Some common EDI standards are EDIFACT, ANSI, and ebXML.

Unstructured Data Transmission (UDT)

UDT is a method of e-invoicing that uses a non-standardized format to send invoices between businesses.

The invoices are usually human-readable but not machine-readable (i.e., a computer can’t extract and process the data directly).

UDT invoicing is often less reliable and secure than SDT, as it can be difficult to exchange data between different systems. Examples include:

  • PDF invoicing: PDF is a common file format used to send and receive documents electronically. It is a popular choice for e-invoicing because it is easy to use and widely compatible.
  • Email Invoicing: Email invoicing is the process of sending and receiving invoices via email. It is the most common, simple, and cost-effective method of e-invoicing.
  • Word Format: Word format is a Microsoft Word document that you can use to send and receive invoices electronically.

Hybrid Invoice

Hybrid invoicing is a method of e-invoicing that uses a combination of different formats, such as XML and EDIFACT, or having a PDF invoice with XML data embedded into it (e.g., ZUGFeRD).

In such a case, all the invoice data in the XML format must be available in PDF format.

Hybrid invoicing allows businesses to take advantage of the best features of each technology while still maintaining compatibility with other systems.



What is the purpose of XML e-invoicing?

The purpose of XML e-invoicing is to provide a standard way for businesses to send and receive invoices electronically. By using XML, companies can avoid the hassle of dealing with compatibility issues and can easily share invoicing data between different applications and systems.

The following are reasons why most businesses use XML e-invoicing:

1. Readability

XML is a standard format where programs can automatically read the values in the invoice fields. The program can then process the invoice, e.g., verification and other tasks.


2. Compatibility

E-invoicing service providers inter-operate with other service providers. And XML is a widely used format, so most available systems are compatible with XML, making it a popular choice for businesses that need to exchange data with other parties.


3. Efficiency

XML invoicing is a fast and efficient way to send and receive invoices electronically. It eliminates the need to print and mail invoices, saving your businesses time and money.


4. Security

XML invoicing is a secure way to send and receive invoices electronically. It helps to protect against data theft and fraud and ensures that confidential information is not compromised.


5. Compliance

XML invoicing is a compliant way to send and receive invoices electronically. This means that it meets the regulatory requirements for invoicing and is suitable for businesses of all sizes.


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What is the XML invoice format?

The XML invoice format is a standard for formatting electronic invoices. It defines the structure and content of an invoice, allowing it to be easily shared between different applications and systems.

The XML invoice format is based on the XML schema definition (XSD), which defines the structure and content of an XML document.



How does XML e-invoicing work?

XML e-invoicing works by using XML to format invoices into an electronic document. The following are XML schemas design guidelines:

  • Use a root element to enclose all the data in the invoice
  • Use a header element to identify the invoice
  • Use a body element to contain the invoice data
  • Use child elements to represent the different parts of the invoice
  • Use attributes to identify the data elements

How to Create an XML invoice?

Creating an XML invoice is a simple process that you can do using any text editor or word processor. The following steps outline how to create an XML invoice:

1. Start by creating a new document and saving it as an XML file using software such as Notepad or Word.

2. Next, define the root element for your invoice. This is the top-level element that will contain all the other elements in your document. You can name the root element anything you like, but it is typically called "invoice."

3. Now, add the header information for your invoice. This includes the invoice number, date, customer name, and other relevant information.

4. Next, add the lines for your invoice. Each line should include the item number, description, quantity, unit price, and total amount.

5. Finally, add the footer information for your invoice. This should include the total amount, terms of payment, and other relevant information.

6. Save your document and submit it to the recipient.

Most businesses are adopting hybrid invoicing formats such as ZUGFeRD/Factur-X. Therefore, you may find it easier to send your invoices through a service provider who converts your invoice into the recipient’s desired format.


How to read XML invoices?

Reading an XML invoice is a simple process that can be done using any text editor or word processor. The following steps outline how to read an XML invoice:

1. Right-click on the XML file and select "Open with" from the menu.

2. Select an application from the list that can open XML files, such as Notepad or Word.

3. The application you choose will display the contents of the XML invoice in the application.

4. To print the invoice, select 'File' > 'Print' from the menu.

5. The invoice will be printed on the application's default printer.

6. To save the invoice, select 'File' > 'Save As' from the menu.

7. Save the invoice as a PDF or XML file.



Conclusion

XML invoicing is a secure, compliant, and efficient way to send and receive invoices electronically. It helps save businesses money and makes it easy to track and manage invoices.You can easily generate an XML invoice using a text editor or word processor and submit it to the recipient in an electronic format. However, not every business uses the XML e-invoicing format. But with Storecove’s e-invoicing solution, your invoices can be automatically converted into the format required by your recipients.


More information about XML invoicing?

Call us on: +31 (0) 20 261 17 91 or send an e-mail to: helpdesk@storecove.nl


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